Exoplanets & Exomoons

Differences Between Stable and Unstable Architectures of Compact Planetary Systems

By Keith Cowing
Status Report
April 11, 2024
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Differences Between Stable and Unstable Architectures of Compact Planetary Systems
Compact Planetary System — NASA

We present a stability analysis of a large set of simulated planetary systems of three or more planets based on architectures of multiplanet systems discovered by Kepler and K2.

We propagated 21,400 simulated planetary systems up to 5 billion orbits of the innermost planet; approximately 13% of these simulations ended in a planet-planet collision within that timespan.

We examined trends in dynamical stability based on dynamical spacings, orbital period ratios, and mass ratios of nearest-neighbor planets as well as the system-wide planet mass distribution and the spectral fraction describing the system’s short-term evolution.

We find that instability is more likely in planetary systems with adjacent planet pairs that have period ratios less than two and in systems of greater variance of planet masses.

Systems with planet pairs at very small dynamical spacings (less than ∼10−12 mutual Hill radius) are also prone to instabilities, but instabilities also occur at much larger planetary separations.

We find that a large spectral fraction (calculated from short integrations) is a reasonable predictor of longer-term dynamical instability; systems that have a large number of Fourier components in their eccentricity vectors are prone to secular chaos and subsequent eccentricity growth and instabilities.

Kathryn Volk, Renu Malhotra

Comments: accepted for publication in AJ
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as: arXiv:2404.06567 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2404.06567v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Kathryn Volk
[v1] Tue, 9 Apr 2024 18:34:31 UTC (245 KB)

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